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While world athletic records were shattered and world-class athletes competed for medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the world-wide athletic completion also marked a watershed in athletes using wearable technology to monitor their training and performance.
Olympic athletes use of wearable technology mirrors the overall consumer growth of wearable athletic monitoring tech.
CCS Insight, a research firm that studies the wearable technology market, has projected that 411 million smart wearable devices, valued at $34 billion, will be sold in 2020. And, despite early, negative technology reviews of the iWatch, Apple shipped 12 million smartwatches in 2015, according to Canalys. That number is predicted to grow as Apple hones the iWatch software and hardware in future releases.
Some of the wearable technology athletes have used in preparing for the Olympics include:
Solos: Originally launched as a Kickstarter project, Solos are smart glasses for cyclists that livestreams data to a smartphone app – tracking a cyclist’s speed and performance. Solos uses technologies developed by the Kopin Corporation for heads up displays for US Military Joint Strike Fighter pilots.
Hykso: A former UK boxing competitor that missed his chance to compete at the London Olympics, developed Hykso, a sensor worn inside a boxing glove that monitors the number of punches, and the type and speed of punches that a fighter throws in training. The data generated from the Hykso can inform training decisions for boxers and their coaches.
VERT: The VERT Wearable Jump Monitor, a sensor clipped to an athlete’s clothing or embedded in clothing, measure vertical jump data. The VERT, liked other sensors, streams the data to a custom smartphone app. The U.S. Volleyball team used VERT in their Olympics training.
Olympic athletes aren’t the only world-class athletes utilizing wearable technology for training and performance tracking. The National Football League currently has a partnership with Zebra Technologies (“The Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider”) that monitors players in-game stats and performance via an RFID-sensor technology deployed in all NFL stadiums.
“The data collected by Zebra’s Sports Solution can be leveraged by coaches, players and team personnel to gain deeper insights into athlete performance and coaching strategy,” a Zebra spokesperson said. “From an athlete performance standpoint, the Zebra Sports Solution provides comprehensive metrics, such as speed and acceleration, that allow for performance optimization and return-to-play monitoring. From a coaching standpoint, the Zebra Sports Solution enables coaches to dive deeper into tactical areas, such as player match ups and formation alignments, to assist in creating an optimal strategy for Game Day.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that anything from the smoke detector in your bedroom to the streetlight across the street can be hooked up with sensors, monitored and controlled via the internet, and it appears to be a soon-to-be reality. In fact, industry analysts project a steep growth in the prevalence of these connected devices: Gartner forecasts 26 billion IoT devices by 2020 and predicts the industry will earn more than $309 billion by then. Similarly, Pew Research Center predicts that the IoT will be thriving by 2025.
A fundamental aspect of the vision of the IoT is not just for devices to be connected to the internet, but also for them to be connected seamlessly to one another. Each device has its own unique IP address and can remotely transfer data between physical devices and virtual backend by relying on sensor technology. They include everything from smart cars, door locks, industrial robots, wearable devices, heart monitors, to even tennis racquets and toasters.
The Internet of Things is expected to change our society dramatically. More specifically, it will revolutionize the way all businesses, governments and consumers interact in the following ways:
More efficient operations
New business opportunities
Lighten consumer workloadThe Internet of Things Obstacles
Being able to connect more devices to the internet will allow small businesses and startups greater intelligence and the ability to bolster the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. They will likely upgrade their equipment in coming years and install “smart” machines and devices that can be hooked up to the internet. This will result in more opportunities for these companies to save money and increase profitability.
The Internet of Things doesn’t just offer greater efficiency – it also opens the door to the hundreds, and possibly thousands, of unique business opportunities that arise out this industry’s growth. As a result, IoT has the potential to change the way businesses and consumers approach the world, and, in turn, they will need new devices and services that help them navigate this changing, ultra-connected way of life.
The role of employees and management will change as more tasks become automated, but small businesses will find ways to benefit and adapt to the evolution of smart things. IoT devices not only will increase the accuracy of customer orders, but they will also increase employee productivity and improve customer satisfaction – a win-win for all involved.
However, major roadblocks exist in the growth of IoT devices in the marketplace. Network size, IT staff size and cost are all potential barriers, but cybersecurity tops the list. The more data that’s collected online, the greater potential for thieves to hack into online accounts and steal valuable and sensitive business information. Thus, companies will have to work on a way to secure their data collection methods.
Progress may seem slow to end users, but the IoT startup ecosystem is booming. As technology continues to evolve and becomes readily available to small businesses, processes will become more streamlined and create a larger impact on those involved.